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Anton Makarenko

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anton Semyonovich Makarenko
BornАнтон Семенович Макаренко
(1888-01-13)13 January 1888
Belopolye, Russian Empire
Died1 April 1939(1939-04-01) (aged 51)
Golitsyno, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
OccupationEducator, writer
CitizenshipRussian Empire, Soviet
SubjectEducational theory, Pedagogy, Correctional education

Anton Semyonovich Makarenko (Russian: Анто́н Семёнович Мака́ренко, 13 January 1888 – 1 April 1939) was a Russian and Soviet educator, social worker and writer, the most influential educational theorist in the Soviet Union[3] who promoted democratic ideas and principles in educational theory and practice. As one of the founders of Soviet pedagogy, he elaborated the theory and methodology of upbringing in self-governing child collectives and introduced the concept of productive labor into the educational system. Makarenko is often reckoned among the world's great educators, and his books have been published in many countries.[4]

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution he established self-supporting orphanages for street children — including juvenile delinquents — left orphaned by the Russian Civil War. Among these establishments were the Gorky Colony and later the Dzerzhinsky labor commune in Kharkiv, where the FED camera was produced. Makarenko wrote several books, of which The Pedagogical Poem (Педагогическая поэма), a fictionalized story of the Gorky Colony, was especially popular in the USSR.[5] A 1955 Soviet movie with English title Road to Life was based on this book.[3] He died under unclear circumstances in 1939.[5]

In 1988 UNESCO considered Makarenko as one of four educators, along with John Dewey, Georg Kerschensteiner, and Maria Montessori, who determined the world's pedagogical thinking of the 20th century.[6]


Early life and education

Anton Semyonovich Makarenko was born in Belopolye, Kharkov Governorate, to Semyon Grigorievich Makarenko, who worked at a railway depot as a painter, and Tatyana Mikhaylovna (née Dergachova), daughter of a Russian soldier from Nikolayev.[7]

In September 1905, having graduated from a four-year college in Kremenchug, Makarenko took a one-year teachers' course and at the age of seventeen, began teaching at a railway college at Dolinskaya station near Kherson where he worked from September 1911 till October 1914. In August 1912, Makarenko entered the Teachers' Institute in Poltava and in July 1917 graduated with a gold medal. After graduating from the institute, Makarenko became a teacher at the Poltava Higher Primary School, where he worked until the end of 1917. In December 1917, he moved to Kryukiv.

In August 1914 he enrolled into the Poltava Training College but had to interrupt his education and in September 1916 joined the Russian army which he was demobilized from in March 1917, due to poor eyesight.[8] The same year he graduated the college with honours.[7]


Makarenko went on to work as a teacher in Poltava and later Kryukov where, in 1919, he became the local college's director.[7]

Gorky Colony

In 1920 he was invited to head the Poltava Colony for Young Offenders. A year later it became the Gorky Colony and soon attracted the attention of Maxim Gorky himself. In 1923 Makarenko published two articles on the Gorky Colony (in Golos Truda newspaper and Novimy Stezhkami magazine) and two years later made a public report at the All-Ukrainian Conference for the orphanage teachers.[8] By the summer of 1925, the colony had 140 pupils - 130 boys and 10 girls. In the same year the question of creation of the Komsomol organization is solved.

Makarenko in the late 1920s
Makarenko in the late 1920s

Dzerzhinsky labour commune

In 1927 Makarenko was appointed as the head of the Dzerzhinsky labour commune, an orphanage for street children near Kharkiv, where the most incorrigible thieves and swindlers were known to be put into rehabilitation. Makarenko succeeded in gaining their respect, combining in his method insistence and respect, school education and productive labour.[9][10]


However, 1928 saw the onset of a wave of criticism aimed at Makarenko. In March 1928 his report at the Ukrainian Pedagogical Institute concerning his work in the Gorky Colony received hostile treatment. In September of that year he was fired from the Gorky Colony, and had to concentrate on his work in Kharkiv.[7]

On September 3, 1928, Makarenko was released from the post of head of the Gorky colony. 1929–1936 mainly related to the work of Anton Semenovich in the commune named after Dzerzhinsky. At the heart of the collective of Communards were 60 educators of the colonies sent to the commune in 1927. January 15, 1928 кomsomol organization was established in the commune. On July 1, 1930, the commune became fully self-sufficient.

Makarenko's methods were highly appreciated by Maxim Gorky who believed that his "amazingly successful educational experiment [was] of world-wide significance."[11] The correspondence between the two started in July 1925 and continued until Gorky's death. In 1928 the famous writer visited the two colonies and left much impressed; next year in an essay called "Over the Union of Soviets" he hailed Makarenko as "the new type of pedagogue."[8]

Book publications

Encouraged by Gorky, whom he admired, Makarenko wrote The Pedagogical Poem (better known in the West under its English title, Road to Life) based on the true stories of his pupils from the orphanage for street children, which he started in 1925 and published in 1933-1935. Before that, in 1932, Makarenko saw his first story being published, "The March of the 30th Year". In 1934 he became a member of the Soviet Union of Writers.[8]

Brovary labour colony

In 1935 Makarenko started working at the NKVD in Kyiv as the Chief Assistant of the Labour Colony Department. In 1936 he was appointed the head of another colony, in Brovary, and in less than a year turned an unruly bunch of pupils into a highly disciplined working collective.[7]

In Moscow: flight, books

Accused of being critical towards Stalin and supporting the Ukrainian opposition, Makarenko had to flee Kyiv in order to avoid the arrest and settled in Moscow where he lived "under special supervision."[10] He continued writing, and in 1937 his acclaimed "The Book for Parents" came out, followed by Flags on the Battlements (translated into English as Learning to Live) in 1938, a sequel to Road to Life.[11] In February 1939 he received the Order of the Red Banner of Labour, a high-profile Soviet award.[8]


According to official version published by Soviet authorities, Anton Semyonovich Makarenko died of heart failure in a suburban train at the Golitsyno railway station of the Moscow Railway's Smolensk line, aged 51. He was buried in Moscow, at the Novodevichy Cemetery.[8] Margarita Barskaya, his assistant, which collaborated with Makarenko to produce a movie based on Flags on the Battlements, died three months later, reportedly committing suicide by jumping out of a window.


Although there was some opposition by the authorities at the early stages of Makarenko's "experiments",[12] the Soviet establishment eventually came to hail his colonies as a grand success in communist education and rehabilitation. Among his key ideas were "as much exigence towards the person as possible and as much respect for him as possible", the use of positive peer pressure on the individual by the collective, and institutionalized self-government and self-management of that collective.[12]

Makarenko was one of the first Soviet educators to urge that the activities of various educational institutions — i.e., the school, the family, clubs, public organizations, production collectives and the community existing at the place of residence — should be integrated.[4]

Criticism and response

Criticism of Makarenko's ideas were raised by Soviet educators and Russian dissidents both before and after the fall of Soviet communism. The humanist educator Vasyl Sukhomlynsky ventured in an unpublished manuscript, "Our Good Family" (1967), against "Makarenko's false statement that the main objective of Soviet moral and character education is found in the collective."[13] Vladimir Sirotin (Kharkiv 1966 - Moscow 2016)[14] described Makarenko as "the bard of punitive pedagogy" and as an ideologue of "command pedagogy", a system attempting to suppress the personality and being contrary to democratic freedoms and human rights, including the natural rights of child and parents.[15] Makarenko's system has been faulted for giving the child collective too much power over the individual child.[16]

This critique is not shared by some Western analysts of Makarenko's pedagogic system, who regard him as keeping a good balance between the individual personality and the welcome influence of the guided collective, seen as a link in integrating the individual into the wider society.[17] The Makarenko system has been studied, among others, by Scandinavian care workers dealing with young drug abusers who couldn't be helped efficiently by using other approaches.[17] There are also similarities between Makarenko's pedagogy and the work of authors currently writing on the concept of group work.[17] Makarenko's holistic view makes him a pioneer in this regard, holding the enlightened, but often ignored position that the individual is a complex being, with a multitude of potentials and needs.[17] Some controversial statements from later works are seen as either authentic, the result of political pressure, or outright falsifications of his writings in a time when his work became canonised by the Soviet education system.[17]

Selected bibliography

Makarenko chess, a chess variant developed by him during the 1920s.
Makarenko chess, a chess variant developed by him during the 1920s.
  • Major (Мажор, 1932; play)
  • March of the 30th Year (Марш 30-го года, 1932, novella)
  • FD—1 (novella, subtitled "A sketch"; written in 1932, published posthumously)
  • The Pedagogical Poem (Педагогическая поэма, 1925–1935, three-part novel)
  • The Book for Parents (Книга для родителей, 1937; non-fiction)
  • Honour (Честь, 1937—1938; novella)
  • Flags on the Battlements (Флаги на башнях, 1938)

See also


  1. ^ Гётц Хиллиг К вопросу национального самосознания А. С. Макаренко (in Russian)
  2. ^ Макаренко В. С. Мой брат Антон Семёнович. Марбург, 1985 г., с. 79 (in Russian)
  3. ^ a b "Anton Semyonovich Makarenko". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2015-01-13.
  4. ^ a b Filonov, G. N. (1994) 'Anton Makarenko (1888–1939)', in Prospects: the quarterly review of comparative education UNESCO: International Bureau of Education, Paris. vol. XXIV, no. 1/2, 1994, p. 77-91.
  5. ^ a b Hillig, Götz (1989). Geschichten aus der Zeit der Wirren (1938 -1941): vom Leidensweg des Schriftstellers Makarenko, vom plotzlichen Tod des Menschen Makarenko und von der wundersamen Auferstehung des Padagogen Makarenko. pp. 71–86.
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c d e "Makarenko, A. S." Peoples' Friendship University of Russia site / Labour Psychology section. Archived from the original on 2015-02-26. Retrieved 2015-01-13.
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Makarenko, Anton Semyonovich". (Anton Makarenko site). Retrieved 2015-01-13.
  9. ^ "A.S. Makarenko" (in Russian). - To Bring Up a Man site. Retrieved 2015-01-13.
  10. ^ a b Kipreyeva, Alyona. "Anton Makarenko". Encyclopedia of Russia. Retrieved 2015-01-13.
  11. ^ a b "Preface to Learn to Live". Retrieved 2015-01-13.
  12. ^ a b Горкин А. П. (гл. ред.). Российская педагогическая энциклопедия. – М.: Научное издательство "Большая Российская энциклопедия", 1993. Макаренко (in Russian)
  13. ^ Boguslavsky, Mikhail V. (December 15, 2009). "The Dynamics of the Goals of Vasily Sukhomlinsky's 'School Holistic System'". Russian-American Education Forum. 1 (3). ISSN 2150-3958. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011.
  14. ^ Obituary: Vladimir Sirotin, socialist standard, No. 1338, The Socialist Party of Great Britain, February 2016, accessed 28 April 2020
  15. ^ Sirotin, Vladimir. "A monster of pedagogy: my objections to Makarenko and the Soviet education system"., Research and Analytical Supplement (RAS) to David Johnson’s Russia List (JRL), Special Issue No. 45. November 2009. Children and adolescents in the USSR and post-Soviet Russia. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  16. ^ Vavokhine, Youri. 2004. The (post)-Soviet prison subculture faced with the use of self-management doctrines by the corrections administration. Penal field: new French journal of criminology
  17. ^ a b c d e Terje Halvorsen, University of Nordland, Norway. Key Pedagogic Thinkers: Anton Makarenko, Journal of Pedagogic Development (JPD), Volume 4, Issue 2 - July 2014, Centre for Learning Excellence, University of Bedfordshire, UK. Accessed 28 April 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 8 March 2021, at 08:10
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